College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Landscape Architecture

MLA students work with the City of Frederick

The Frederick News-Post reports: "Carroll Creek preservation, trail project presented to city"
Photo Credit: 
Source: UMD Partership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS)

Read the article below about what some of our graduate students and faculty have been working on this semester in the city of Frederick!

Carroll Creek preservation, trail project presented to city

UMD students' plan creates wetlands corridor, trail system to complement other Frederick parks

Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014 2:00 am

The city of Frederick will consider a proposal from University of Maryland students to preserve 100 acres along Carroll Creek and provide new recreational trails.

Graduate students in the university's Partnership for Action Learning program presented a general landscape design, based on the 2001 Shared Use Path Plan adopted by the city, at Wednesday's workshop.

The plan would create a wetlands corridor and trail system stretching from Highland Street to the Monocacy River alongside East Church Street.

It would complement other Frederick parks, presenters said, and create a recreation destination in east Frederick. Additionally, it would improve water quality, mitigate stormwater runoff and provide habitat for plants and wildlife.

This was the PAL pilot program's first presentation to the mayor and Board of Aldermen. The second is scheduled for Feb. 4.

The initial design did not address costs and was less a blueprint than something for the aldermen to consider for the future.

The proposal included a 1-mile wetland boardwalk, 3.4 miles of trails marked with signs, a playground, restrooms and parking.

Matthew Zerfas, one of the students, said the site could be linked to the cycling and walking trail slated to cross Monocacy Boulevard.

It would also link with downtown Frederick and proposed developments on the Nicodemus and Renn farms.

“We envision multiple connections,” said Katelin Posthuma, another student in the program.

The design would preserve or restore about 100 acres containing four different types of habitat, according to student Nathan Allen.

“It's a very important area also because these (flood plain) areas support some of the largest communities of plants and animals in the Chesapeake region,” he said.

Alderman Phil Dacey asked the presenters whether establishing wetlands would require mosquito breeding control.

Maryland landscape architecture professor Chris Ellis responded that, in healthy habitats inviting to the biting insects' natural predators, mosquito populations actually tend to be lower than in poorly preserved wet areas.

Much of the land in the plan is private property that is being developed. Alderman Michael O'Connor said making the habitat restoration and trail project a reality would require extensive cooperation between the city and private landowners.

Several aldermen expressed support for the design.

“I'm blown away. This is really cool,” Alderwoman Kelly Russell said.

O'Connor said it was wonderful for the city to get the design at no cost and joked that he hoped the students all got good grades.

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said it was a good idea, but questioned the expense of such a project.

“This is beautiful. Anybody who doesn't think this is a wonderful plan, wasn't paying much attention,” she said. “And then I put on my other hat and say, 'How much is this going to cost?'"

Rather than considering the cost, presenters said, the project, at this stage, is intended to start a conversation about ways in which the natural environment could be integrated into the urban landscape.

Student George Sorvalis encouraged the aldermen to consider the benefits preservation would bring in terms of home values and quality of life.

“Along with the cost per acre, you need to think about your benefits per acre,” he said.

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